It’s hard to believe that this comic has now been around for ten years. I remember first coming across it when I was relatively new to zines. I believe it was passed on to me via another British zinester. I remember thinking then, as I still do now, how different Isy’s life seemed from my own. For anyone who is skeptical of whether it’s possible to live within society, and yet outside the system, I encourage you to read Isy’s comics. They provide insight into a radical urban lifestyle centered on anarchism, collective organization, and direct action against the state. Isy and her friends run a collective catering operation/mobile kitchen (called the Anarchist Teapot), where they travel to various festivals, actions, and gatherings and provide vegan food. It’s tough not feeling inspired reading these tales of Isy’s life. Not everyone would want to pursue Isy’s exact lifestyle, of course, but it’s clear that she’s leading her life on her own terms and that alone is enough to inspire.
For this collection, Isy reorganized her comics roughly into sections to maintain a fluidity to the stories. The book starts out introducing the reader to Isy and the world in which she lives. We meet her mates and find out that she lives in a cooperatively owned house. There are also stories about the Cowley Club, the anarchist collective space that serves as a social center for Isy and her friends. Isy also shares many tales of the adventures she’s had while making and serving food with the Anarchist Teapot, and other volunteer collectives she works with. The latter half of the book includes some stories of longer trips she’s taken, including to Korea to see members of her family, and to visit the western United States. Interspersed throughout are snatches of radical history in comic form, as well as some new artwork and text where Isy shares personal details about herself and her politics.
Even if you’ve read all of Isy’s individual comics before, this anthology is still a great way to enjoy them all over again, in a nicely organized way and with some new content, as well. Highly recommended. –Sean Stewart (Last Hours, lasthours.org.uk)